The URSCA grant (Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities)
This grant was first introduced to be by my adviser Dr. Warner, who was very excited for me to pursue my desire to travel to Mexico and study Spanish through an immersion experience. The URSCA grant funds multi-disciplinary research work through paying a student for their work up to an awarded amount. To obtain the grant I had to submit a research proposal and later needed to apply for IRB approval for my research work.
This was all very new for me, but thankfully Dr. Warner was right there along side me and helped the process go smoothly and taught me more what it meant to do research work in anthropology.
Through semi-structured interviews and participant observation, I am currently studying the effects of chain supermarkets (like Walmart and it's Mexican counterpart, Chedraui) on the local produce markets. It has been fascinating to learn more about the cultural impact these supermarkets have had and to learn more about the reasons people still use local markets or have opted to visit the supermarkets.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit and observe three local markets spread across the city of Xalapa, and it was fascinating. I have visited quite a number of farmers markets in Pennsylvania, but this was something quite different.
La Rotunda: Open air produce market situated right beside an enclosed space that sold meats and also Mexican dish specialties. This location is well known for the food, I mentioned I had tried picada and my host father knew right away where I had been.
Mercado Jauregui: An enclosed market that sold not only produce but also meat, food, flowers and other household goods.
All three markets were very interesting, and the food from La Rotunda was delicious! I look forward to learning and exploring more of the markets and hearing what the locals have to say about this fascinating aspect of their culture.